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Bingo hall's rights confirmed in court battle with gardaí

A High Court judge said that gardaí must allow Rock Bingo to operate in accordance with the law.

Image: Gerard McCarthy

THE BINGO HALL which opened two weeks ago after a lengthy legal battle has seen its right to operate confirmed by the High Court.

Rock Bingo finally opened on New Year’s Day in Togher, Cork after earlier being closed down following a garda raid in which its bingo books were seized.

It had been set for a grand opening on 1 November, with hundreds of customers expected, when gardaí arrived with a search warrant.

Rock Bingo operators Omega Leisure Ltd then brought a case against the local garda superintendent Charles Barry in the High Court, seeking a declaration that Supt Barry was guilty of misfeasance of public office in executing the search and preventing them from opening.

Mr Justice Clarke yesterday rejected that application. But he confirmed that Rock Bingo had a right to continue its operations, and that the licensing process – by which a charity allows its lottery license to be used in return for some of the proceeds – was not illegal.

In the judgement, seen by TheJournal.ie, Mr Justice Clarke wrote that he “would expect Superintendent Barry to be as good as his word and [...] allow Omega to operate in the ordinary way in accordance with the law.”

Rock Bingo manager Dave Barber welcomed the ruling, saying: “We have always operated lawfully and once again I am pleased that this has come through clearly in the court today.” He added:

We now need to knuckle down, recover from the disastrous period we have endured to date and get back to running a bingo establishment that the people of Cork can enjoy for many years to come.

A garda spokesperson said that An Garda Síochána do not comment on court rulings.

More: Rock Bingo declared “lawful”, will open on New Year’s Day>

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Michael Freeman

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